I have a three friend, a kind of leader in corporate world, they are born in 1970s. In the 1990s, they are experiencing a new change of business world, that makes them enjoy the exponential career growth, the 2000s they are reach their top.
A is a very ambitious man, by the age of 32 he is a country leader, highly respected, very smart, everything is destinied for him. He enjoy the top level position for 5 years, however everything changed. By the age of 37 he lost his position, now in the age of 44 he is struggle in a department managerial position.
B is avoid conflict work hard man, he start from the bottom, so he knows detail about technical aspects. He become division leader by the age of 30. As the result of internal conflict, by age of 32 he also lost his position. But he never give up, at the age of 40 he become a division leader. But it does not last forever, by the age of 44 he lost the position and have a managerial position.
C, also has the similar story with A and B, however B is smarter in understanding the office dynamics. He not too ambitious, he also brave enough to face the conflict, but he works too hard. A good thing is he never lost his position. However, by the age of 40, C died.
Well, to have more perspective and bigger scale. There is another story of a two leader in corporate world, born in 1960s.
D, by the age of 38 he become a country leader, at age of 44 he become SOE CEO
E, by the age of 43 he come a country leader, 48 he become SOE CEO
D & E, at the age of 52 now is an non executive position (expert staff/division leader). Simply they are too old and too expensive now. No one be a C-level position for more than two period. Let say for SOE CEO, if you reach them by the age of 40 and you can stay for two period until 50. Unless it was for major changes, no one can maintain its position until third term.
In my oversimplify conclusion. I think the career path of a person can be explained in three phase:
1. 20s, some might got jackpot (Company/Organization Level). E.g got overseas assignment, internal organization changes.
2. 30s, some might got second jackpot (Industrial/Sectoral). E.g Internet, Oil & Gas Booming
3. 40s, some might got third jackpot. (National/Regional). E.g got leadership role in South East Asia.
But what most of people did not realize, that while there is a chance to get a jackpot. There is also equal chance to loss something. My friend simply died at age of 40s, instead of become SOE CEO. Another friend of mine got health problem by the age of 30s, which fatal become a lifetime burden. Well, I never found any high profile corporate that manage to survive post age 55 without any medical condition, even they are a entrepreneur.
Final conclusion, well, I just hope, that in the long run, the one that doing a good deed to other people will be survived. It was not that long actually, its only like 20s years. The first 10s maybe we did not realize anything, by the second 10s, we realize, but most of us know the consequences.